Wine is one of those magical things that brings people together, which makes it perfect for special occasions such as Valentine’s Day. If you're giving a wine gift that's just a bottle of wine, then literally anything will work. But if you wanna be next level and pair your wine with some kind of chocolate or other treat, then check out some of the ideas below.
Chocolate Covered Strawberries
In general with food and wine pairings, the goal is to pair like flavors in the food with like flavors in the wine. Chocolate covered strawberries can be tricky because the strawberry is still just a piece of fruit and not many fresh fruits pair with the red wines that are traditionally paired with chocolate. On the other hand, the chocolate coating won’t really pair with wines typically paired with fresh strawberries. So what do you do?
If the strawberries are covered in milk chocolate, my suggestion is to go with a lighter style red wine with lots of bold fruit flavors – nothing too rich that would overwhelm the strawberry. Think fruity, juicy, light red wine. A few suggestions would be pinot noirs from California or Chile, tempranillos from Spain (from anywhere except Rioja as these would be too oaky to pair with fruit) or red blends from Southern France.
If the strawberries are covered in white chocolate, then I would recommend a pink bubbly made in the traditional or champenois method – the same method used to make champagne – or heck, splurge and go for the pink champagne! The goal is pair the typical red fruit flavors of pink bubbly with the strawberry and the creamy texture of the bubbles with the white chocolate. The important thing is to find a pink bubbly made using the champagne method – this will ensure the texture of the bubbly is creamy and not harsh (as could be the case with other sparkling wine making methods). Look for pink cavas from Spain, pink bubblies from the Loire region of northern Franace, or pink champagne! If you wanna be totally random and adventurous, check out this sparkling Malbec from Argentina. It’s so delicious and would pair perfectly with white chocolate covered strawberries.
Plain Chocolates or Truffles
If you’ve got a big hunk of chocolate in some form or fashion, please send it my way. LOL. Seriously, though, this is where the classic red wine and chocolate pairing applies. Any sort of rich chocolately treat will pair beautifully with an equally rich, fruit forward, bold red wine. Keep an eye out for Australian shiraz, fruity California red blends, or Australian malbecs. You don’t want earthy or traditional wines with plain chocolate. A rich luscious wine will reinforce the rich flavors of the chocolate and create a delicious sensory experience.
Chocolates With Nuts or Other Fillings
If you’re doing the heart shaped box-o-chocolates or any sort of chocolates with nuts, nougat or caramel, then consider pairing this with a tawny port. Trust me, a properly made port is not as sweet and uninteresting as many people think it is. If it’s well made, it will have beautiful layers of complexity and great acidity in addition to the sweetness (the acidity helps mask the sweetness of the wine while the sweetness helps add a layer of viscosity and richness to the wine that further reinforces the complexity of a well made port). Most importantly, a tawny port is known for its caramel and nutty flavors so it will go beautifully with any sort of chocolate that has these flavors.
If you found these tips helpful, please share with your friends. Feel free to reach out with questions!
Happy Valentine’s Day!!